Having a social media presence is table stakes for most brands. Audits ensure you’re making the most of these platforms.

Here, you’ll find:

  • What a social media audit is
  • How to conduct a social media audit
  • What insights you can glean
  • How often you should audit your social media strategy

In Q1 2021, marketers spent 60% more on Facebook and Instagram ads than the same quarter in 2020, according to Sprout Social.

Social media is one of the most affordable digital marketing tactics around. Through organic and paid social posts, you can expand your reach, grow awareness about your company, and target your audience in a seamless way.

Plus, if you’re active on these platforms yourself, chances are you follow at least one brand. Zooming out to analyze your overall social strategy’s performance is key to ensuring what you’re doing is likely to be successful. 

So, how do you gather this info? Through a social media audit.

hawksem: social media audit

Without auditing organic and paid social media accounts, there’s a chance you’re putting effort into strategies or platforms that miss the mark. (Image: Unsplash)

What is a social media audit?

At its core, a social media audit is a bird’s-eye view of your current social media strategy as a whole. It’s a time when you take a step back and evaluate your efforts: what’s working, what’s not, and what could be tweaked for greater success.

Without auditing organic and paid social media accounts, there’s a chance you’re putting effort into strategies or platforms that miss the mark. 

An audit can help you identify how well you’re speaking to your audience, the demographics of your audience, and which posts resonate most at which times.

Audit your social media in 9 steps

There’s no single right way to conduct a social media audit. After all, different brands will be more active on different platforms, post at different frequencies, and leverage their accounts in different ways. 

By following the nine steps below, however, you’ll have a solid framework. From there, you can modify as necessary when conducting your own social media audit.

1. Organize your accounts

As with content or PPC audits, it starts with getting organized. This means gathering all of your social media assets and putting them in one place, like a Google Sheet. 

Assets can include:

  • Social media handles for each platform you use
  • Passwords for each account
  • The person responsible for managing each account
  • How often you publish on each platform per week
  • Your paid social campaigns

Depending on factors like the size of your company or how long you’ve been in your role, there may be social media accounts for your business floating around on the internet that you don’t even know about. 

Luckily, you can use tools like Namechk or Knowem to track them down.

2. Check for cohesion, completion, and consistency

Now that you’ve got all of your social media account information in one place, it’s time to analyze each account. 

Are all of the applicable fields filled out on each? Is your logo consistent and current across all platforms? Is your company information, team size, and mission consistent and up to date? 

If you don’t already have a short “About Us” paragraph or mission statement, now’s a great time to create one! You can even create a short and a longer version. 

For example, you have less room on your Twitter and Instagram profiles “about” sections than you do on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. It should be thorough enough to explain your company but short enough not to exceed each platform’s character limit.

Pro tip: Keeping UTM tracking parameters consistent for paid and organic social media posts will make tracking easier. Google Analytics doesn’t automatically pull in data from social channels, so it’s up to you to set that up.

3. Analyze your performance metrics

Here comes the tricky part. 

Gathering the metrics for each platform can give you helpful insight into how your audience is responding to your social media content. You can see which posts and ads perform best so you can know what to post more of on your respective timelines. 

Depending on how your accounts are set up, it’s likely that you’ll need to go into each individual platform to access that data. You can opt for metrics from the last three months, six months, or a year, depending on how long the accounts have been active.

How far back you can source data also varies by social media platform. For example: On Instagram, you can only go back 90 days.

Pro tip: Scheduling and posting your social media content through a management tool like HubSpot or Sprout Social can save you some time when it comes to seeing how many posts you’ve published during a certain time frame, and how much engagement (comments, likes, clicks, and shares) those posts garnered.

4. Deep dive into your audience

A great feature most major social media platforms offer when it comes to analytics is the audience insights. For example, comparing follower counts can tell you which platforms are seeing more success. 

You should also look at how fast each of your accounts is growing, then drill down further into why that might be. Maybe you’re interacting or posting more on some platforms than others.

Demographic insights can show you things like your followers’ age range, gender breakdown, what regions they reside in, and more. Try to keep an open mind when it comes to this data. You may think you know your target audiences, but user behavior on social media can surprise you.

Pro tip: Look at engagement metrics to see how your audience is interacting with your brand. Are they sharing your posts? What post and ad types see the most engagement? What other patterns do you notice?

hawksem: paid social audit

Most of these main platforms include an analytics section where you can determine your most popular posts for a given time period. (Image: Unsplash)

5. Examine your publishing strategy

There are a few ways you can determine how often you post on each platform

If you use a scheduling tool, you can count up or download a spreadsheet showing all of your social posts for the specified time period, then divide by number of days. Alternatively, you can manually count them on each platform, then divide by the number of days.

Once you’ve got your figures, see how they compare. When it comes to the platform you see the most engagement on, are you posting more or less than on others? Some scheduling tools can even tell you the best average times to post each week.

6. Revisit your content

This is the point when you want to dig into your actual posts. Most of these main platforms include an analytics section where you can determine your most popular posts for a given time period. 

What do you think it is about these posts or ads that resonated? It could be a question that sparked an interesting conversation, a unique piece of data, a visually appealing carousel, or something more.

This is also when you want to make sure the content aligns with your brand mission and goals. Are your voice and tone speaking to your audience consistently? Do all of your posts follow the same content guidelines? 

Once you figure out these answers, you can focus on creating more posts similar to the ones that are seeing the most success.

Need help taking your paid social campaigns to the next level? Let’s talk.

7. See how you stack up against competitors

In almost all areas of business, it’s a mistake to keep blinders on when it comes to your competition. Working in a silo just makes it easier for your competitors to leapfrog over you — so don’t give them the opportunity.

Check out what your competition is doing in terms of social:

  • What platforms they’re on
  • How often they post
  • The ad types they leverage
  • What kinds of posts they publish
  • What multimedia they use, if any
  • Which of their posts are most popular

Compare their actions to your brand’s. Are they asking more questions? Do they use more GIFs or graphics? Are they posting during a time you generally aren’t? 

You don’t want to simply mimic other businesses in your space, but there’s value in knowing how they’re using these platforms.

Pro tip: There are tons of settings you want to be aware of, especially when it comes to targeting, during a paid social campaign setup. Facebook makes it easier now to spend your money efficiently with Automated Placements and Dynamic Ad formats, but pay attention to who you’re showing your ads to as well. 

hawksem: social media audit

Conducting quarterly audits for your social media marketing is often a good place to start, if you have the bandwidth. (Image: Unsplash)

8. Make a plan for next steps

Once your social media audit is complete, it’s time to take stock of your findings. Schedule a time to chat with your team to discuss the audit results. You can highlight key takeaways, then create action items to implement from there.

This is also when you can discuss any new tactics or platforms you all may want to try. If others in your field are hopping on the TikTok train, for example, it could be worth trying out.

Pro tip: Once you’ve audited your social program, you can start optimizing for efficiency. It’s easy to spend a lot and have nothing to show for it. Learn from that, then start building back up from the areas that did perform well and conducting A/B tests to continue optimizing your paid social campaigns.

9. Create a schedule for regular social media audits

Much like campaign creation, metrics analysis, and strategizing, a social media audit isn’t a one-and-done process. Rather, it’s something you want to carve out time to do on a regular basis. 

The frequency will depend on factors like your team, goals, and company size. Conducting quarterly audits for your social media marketing is often a good place to start, if you have the bandwidth.

We get it: Audits are time-consuming. It’s easy to let these tasks like a social media audit fall to the bottom of your to-do list. 

But creating a recurring reminder and blocking off some time on your team’s calendar each month to review results will help everyone stay on the same page. It can also foster more transparency around social media efforts and results. 

The takeaway

It’s nearly impossible for every one of your followers to see every post you publish on social media. Add that to the millions of people and companies on these platforms, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

By conducting a social media audit, you’ll have a clearer understanding of what posts are speaking to your audience, which platforms are bringing you the most success, and what adjustments you can make to ensure your posts, pictures, and tweets are top notch.

This article has been updated and was originally published in May 2020.